Tag Archives: I am a bear

Bear instructions.

No bear ever sat me down and told me how to be a bear. How to push my paws into mud because it feels nice. How to avoid dipping my nose into the river while lapping up a refreshing drink. Why dipping my nose in water is bad. How to climb trees and not embarrass myself in front of birds (something I am still not great at). How to get into dumpsters. How to communicate with other dumpster dwellers. How to pick out a good stick. How to be a bear.

I had to figure out how to be a bear by myself for the most part. It involved a lot of guess work and mistakes and one time I almost drowned (the nose in the river thing was a hard lesson to learn). I have been considering creating and sharing a set of instructions on how to be a bear. I think it would be nice if other bears, even other creatures interested in being a bear, could have have some guidelines on how to be a bear.

I have no idea what exactly would go into the instructions. Surely the water and nose thing. But what else? What actions and experiences make being a bear? Do I catalog how I walk and eat and think and that time I saw twenty birds yelling at the empty vessel of a flattened raccoon? I am not sure what is most important about being a bear.

And I do not even know if I am the best creature to determine what is most important about being a bear. Surely there are other bears who have important ideas of bearness that differ from mine, and who am I to tell any creature that those views are any worse or better than mine are?

I suppose I cannot determine what the best practices for being a bear are. I can only determine what the best practices for being a me are. And I am a bear.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

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Here are some things I had time to consider as I fell from a tree I climbed.

time-bear-2

Things I had time to consider as I fell from a tree I climbed:

  • The wind seemed very sharp
  • The ground looked so soft from up high
  • The branch that I thought was interesting looking from below was not nearly as interesting looking when I got to it
  • No amount of arm flapping would cause me to fly
  • Though I certainly tried
  • Why do I not get to fly?
  • I do not think birds should get to fly when most of the rest of us do not, it is strange and does not seem fair
  • But birds do not have front legs or paws or fur, so maybe flying was their trade-off?
  • The size of the sky does not seem to change while falling
  • The size of the ground does definitely seem to change while falling
  • Moments of tremendous unease seem to last a very long time, which is, again, a very strange and not very fair thing that happens no matter what, always
  • When moments like that stretch out, I am forced to linger on the thoughts and actions that made the moment difficult to begin with
  • And I have to, in a way, relive an awful thing while the awful thing is happening for what feels like a forever
  • I do not like that and it does not seem fair
  • Because even if I get all the time that is possible to have to think about one particular thing, I will be unable to change it or alter it or even really stop it from clouding my thoughts, so I am being forced by some unknown thing to sit and stare at myself inside me forever even as the ground gets closer and closer to my snout
  • The number of leaves I would likely fall onto
  • Which looked to be about ten?
  • Which was not enough leaves to constitute a safe or even mildly comfortable landing
  • That maybe trees do not like me?
  • Which is why I am often falling from them or things on them are falling from them and landing on me?
  • A very brief, fleeting moment of nothing right before my paws endure the shock of beginning my landing
  • Which was actually nice
  • And very relaxing

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I saw a dirt-covered seagull.

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Seagulls are rare in my part of the forest, but when I get deeper into the forest, past the clumps of trees I normally reside in and to the slabs of flat rocks and human caves, I sometimes run into a seagull. The last time I saw a seagull, it stared at me as it stood next to a few crows, chewing on some plastic bits it had fished out of a dumpster. It was a strange experience. It was missing feathers and had a twisted leg. It looked okay with both of those things. The bird’s dark, beady eyes glared at me while its empty face consumed its catch. I envied it, to be honest, as it so openly, without any indication of shame for its seemingly awful state of being, enjoyed a nice dumpster snack.

I saw another seagull today. I was trying to climb into a dumpster when it swooped from the sky (as birds with their aggressive nature tend to do) and landed on the corner of the dumpster I was climbing. My front paws were inside, but I stopped and stared at the seagull as the last seagull I saw had stared at me. It stared back. It was covered in dirt. Brown and grey crud covered its crooked feathers. Mud rested on its neck, dried and flaking off with every little movement it made. Its eyes were just as beady and as dark as any seagull I had ever seen.

I am not sure how long we stared at one another, but eventually the seagull broke the spell and flew off. I shook my head and tried to snap back into my reality. I climbed into the dumpster I was climbing into and did what I normally do in dumpsters: enjoyed myself with some scavenging and a long nap.

When I climbed out, the seagull was on the ground to greet me. I had no idea if it was the same seagull, but it was definitely covered in dirt and it smelled similar. My head was poking out of the dumpster, my paws hanging over the edge, when its glare stopped me as it had before. It was standing in a very thick, dark liquid. Confidently. Maybe proudly. We stared at one another again. This seagull was so unashamed just to be. I do not know how it did that. I have always been nervous to be. Being has always worried me, plagued my thoughts and forced me to rethink my being. I doubted this seagull even knew it was. Did this seagull even care that it was? That it existed? I was hard to tell.

It dipped its long, strange beak into the liquid, slurped some of it, and flew away.

This seagull was fine with being what it was.

I tried licking the black liquid after the seagull was gone and I had climbed out of the dumpster.

It burned and made me very upset.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on Facebook.

I found a milk jug. Now what?

Milk jug (2)

Everything and everyone in the forest (as far as I can tell) seems to have a very overt, defined purpose. Trees are homes for creatures, fur scratchers for me, and generally great for the aesthetics of the forest. The river gives us water and a place to see ourselves in wavy reflections. Squirrels are entertaining at best and chaotic wild cards at worst (which also has its uses). Even the deer across the river has some purpose. I do not know what that purpose is, but I am sure there is one and I like to pretend it is not just to make me feel horrible about being near the deer across the river from time to time.

We all have a purpose in the forest, and we all interact with and play off of each others’ purposes. That is why it is so alarming when I come across something in the forest that seems to lack a discernible purpose (to me, that is).

Many strange things find their way to the forest (usually by way of dumpster treasures or humans (campsites and such)), and it can be difficult to figure out why these things exist.

The milk jug was a perfect example. I had no idea it was even called a milk jug until Rob (the squirrel) told me it was a milk jug. I asked him what it did, and he told me the name explained everything I needed know.

Milk jug.

So, naturally, I chewed on it. The milk jug certainly did a fine job at fulfilling the role of a thing to be chewed on, but (and I do not mean to sound too cynical or pessimistic here) that can be said of just about anything I can chew on (which is most things).

I decided to carry the milk jug with me to give it some more time to express its reasoning for its being or at least enough time for me to figure that out on my own. Later that day, in my cave, I sat with my belly pressed against the cool, moldy rock floor as I stared at the milk jug, waiting for it to explain itself.

It never did. It just sat there.

I took the milk jug to the river to see if a change in scenery could help inspire it to be the best possible milk jug.

When we arrived, we sat at the edge of the river, waiting.

Then I nudged the milk jug into the water. For a very brief moment, I was terrified that I might have just drowned the milk jug just to prove something about it to me, which was an absurd and horrible notion. In my panic, I jumped into the river to follow the milk jug, but I was surprised to find that it was able to float better than I could.

Maybe that was its purpose.

The deer across the river scoffed at me as this happened, which I pretended to ignore even though it made me feel bad about myself.

At the end of the day, I carried the milk jug back to where I found it: the dumpster near the sharp fence I dug a whole under so I did not have to climb the fence because it is sharp.

I am still not entirely sure why the milk jug exists and what it is for, but I figure that the place for it to do or be what it needs to do or be is its home.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear. Also, you can find bear photos and such on Bear’s Instagram, and don’t forget to “like” Bear on the book of faces.

Do I think about being a bear too much?

bear brain (2)

Often when I say things, I remind myself and others that I am a bear (so much so that if I do not remind myself and others I am a bear, some worry). It is something I cannot help; I am always thinking about how I am a bear. Sometimes I am trying to deeply consider my bearness and how it affects the world and how the world affects it. Other times I am just reminding myself of my bearness.

Either way, I am almost always thinking about being a bear.

Is that a bad thing?

I know it is not good to be obsessed with something, no matter what it is, but is it also not good to be constantly concerned with what or who you are and your place in the world? Normally, I would assume it is fine, but recently, while giving some more thought on my bearness and such, I thought about my thinking of being a bear might not necessarily be the same thing as me actually being a bear.

I am now beginning to worry that I am not being a bear nearly as much as I am thinking about being a bear. What does thinking about being a bear really do for me that being a bear cannot do? I can think all day about being a bear and eating a delicious grease stained napkin from a dumpster that the hypothetical me in my mind might find, but that does not mean I am going to get to eat that delicious grease stained napkin in real life. In fact, that grease stained napkin might not even be real. At least the hypothetical me in my mind is based off something I know is real (the real me), but that napkin? I made it up.

Making things up confuses this even more. I can think about being anything I want. I can think about being a tree or a squirrel or a cloud or a snake or a bird or two bears or a thousand bears. No matter what I think of, however, it does not change my actually being a bear in any way. Also, I do not get to be any of those things I listed. I am not a thousand bears or a snake or a tree. I am just a bear. One, single bear.

So should I think about being a bear less?

It seems impossible to completely stop thinking about being a bear (it is the thing with which I have the most experience), but I should I reduce my bear-thinking habits?

Should I simply be a bear instead?

Or is thinking about being a bear just part of being a bear?

And maybe overthinking about being a bear is just part of being a bear?

And maybe thinking about how thinking about not being a bear and a bunch of other things instead is also just a part of being a bear?

I do not know.

I suppose, for now and until someone or something tells me I am not doing it correctly, I will continue to just be a bear, whatever thinking comes along with being a bear.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

You can also now use Tumblr to address questions to Bear

Perhaps there are infinity bears?

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Counting is hard sometimes. I often find myself wondering why there are certain numbers of bear parts that make up my body. I know that I have four legs to help promote mobility and stability. I have two eyes to help me see (and count things).

But not everything about me seems to make sense. Some of my parts are simply uncountable. For instance, I often wonder how many strands of hair make up my fur. I have tried to count them many times but have failed miserably. Usually I lose track or fall asleep or run out of visible patches of fur (I once employed Rob (the squirrel) to help count all the fur on my back, but he wound up counting acorns instead; it was very confusing and unproductive).

My teeth are also difficult to inventory because I cannot see them. I have felt them with my tongue, but my tongue is an unreliable accountant.

I assume that the number of hair and teeth I maintain is an appropriate amount for bears and won’t fluctuate too much in the course of my existence. But if that number does change, do I become more or less bear? I hope not. I hope my bearness retains all the qualities that make me a bear despite any missing teeth or newly grown fur.

The perplexing nature of numerical values is also applicable to the forest itself. I know how many Rob (the squirrel)s there are. One. Just one. That much I know. But I have no idea how many trees there are. I’m sure I would eventually be able to count them all if I kept a thorough tally, or I if were to mark them so they would not be recounted, but other matters seem to take precedence over this goal: food, naps, rolling in dirt, more naps, etc.

Even if I could count every tree in the forest, what would it accomplish? I know that I would rest a little easier knowing that number, but would it shed any light on the number of other things around me? Probably not. What do trees know about the quantities of other things in the surrounding world? Very little, I would guess (no offense, trees).

Much like my teeth and fur, there are things in the forest that change so rapidly, they would be impossible to count. Take clouds for example. They shift and float across the sky without warning. They change color and disappear. How could anyone be able to keep up with that sort of behavior? Perhaps clouds simply do not want to be counted.

I am easy to count. I am one bear. One, single bear. I do not know how many other bears there are. I assume more than just me. Perhaps there are bears in other places beyond the forest. Or maybe even beyond the clouds.

Maybe, just maybe, there are more than just one of me. There could be infinite versions of me across infinite versions of the forest. If this is the case, counting my legs and fur and teeth would be acts of futility. How do you count to infinity?

I suppose counting things shouldn’t be so worrisome. Rob (the squirrel) says he never counts things and believes there is simply enough things around at any given time. I suppose, on some level, he has a point.

The hypothetically infinite numbers of me have yet to come crashing down on one another, so I guess things are as they should be.

Rob (the squirrel) ate three of my acorns.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com

I worry about what I look like when I run.

Bear running (2)

I run when I need to run. It has its uses, running that is. For instance, just the other day I saw a tree with no leaves on its branches and its twiggy limbs were smacking up against another tree that did have leaves, ripping the leaves from the leaved tree. I thought I saw a tree murder in progress and, though I am ashamed to admit it, I felt the need to run as fast as I could. I was lost in the forest all night after running aimlessly for so long, but at least I got away from the tree murder.

I also sometimes run when I have bursts of energy for no apparent reason. It feels good to stretch out my legs and feel the wind brush through my fur. And even though I feel tired when I am done, I feel quite refreshed shortly after running.

I actually like to run.

But I do not like doing it in front other creatures…

I was recently running through the forest after thinking an interesting looking rock I found was actually a ghost when I suddenly heard a chuckling. I looked toward the sound to find several squirrels (oddly none of them Rob (the squirrel)) staring at me and laughing hysterically. I stopped mid-gallop and stared back. They were heckling me. At least five squirrels. All heckling me. One even did an impression of me by placing its back end high into the air and shuffling its front legs frantically. The other squirrels laughed at the impression. One laughed so hard it fell out of the tree.

I did not stay much longer to see the crowd further analyze my running. I trudged (at a very slow pace) back to my cave to lick my wounds.

The heckles haunted my dreams that night. I had a dream about one large squirrel poking me with a stick as I tried to run, but when I looked down, I had no legs. No paws. No way to run. Instead, I rolled through the forest as the squirrel kept poking and stabbing me.

I woke up growling and shuffling my feet… frantically.

Now I am consistently worried about how I look as I run through the forest. I even find myself not running from time to time, even when I really want to. What if the squirrels are watching? What if other creatures are watching? What if I really do look silly as I run?

I do not like running as much now. I want to run. I want to like to run. But the constant fear of not running how I am supposed to run keeps me from doing what I want to do.

Maybe one day I can see another bear run. Maybe the example could show me how it is really supposed to be done. Maybe I can learn to like running and maybe I can learn to run how a bear is supposed to run or maybe those squirrels will just leave me alone.

Or maybe I will just walk from now on.

I am a bear.

If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site? 

For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@gmail.com